Monthly Archives: May 2017

StrictlyVC: April 21, 2017

Hope you have a dynamite weekend, everyone.

Before we go, a quick reminder that our next Insider evening is suddenly less than two weeks away(!). Thanks very much to our generous sponsors Square 1 Bank, Rosebud Communications, Bullish and (newly) Haystack. (Semil Shah is insisting on buying drinks for all of you.) We couldn’t organize these evenings without your support.

We’re also very excited about our amazing speaker line-up, including The RealReal’s Julie Wainwright, Impossible Foods’s Pat Brown, Confide’s Jon Brod, and Lightspeed Venture Partners’s Ravi Mhatre and Barry Eggers, with help from our colleague over at TechCrunch, Emerging Tech Editor Lora Kolodny. There’s a lot to fascinating stuff to discuss — e-commerce, food tech, secure messaging, trends in VC. And we couldn’t ask for nicer place to do it than NextWorld Capital‘s beautiful home in San Francisco. (Thank you, NextWorld!)

We’re hitting capacity, but the more the merrier at these parties; if you’d like to come, you can still grab a seat here.

Top News in the A.M.

In addition to phones, self-driving cars, and augmented reality, Apple may be looking to get into the business of satellites, too.

A Midas List VC on the Problem with the Midas List

Earlier this week, Forbes published its annual Midas List, which showcases who the outlet believes to be the top investors in the world. Stuart Peterson of Artis Ventures was on the list — very far down, behind the many VCs whose names are instantly recognizable to founders, like Chris Sacca and Peter Fenton and Mary Meeker.

The way Peterson tells it, that’s the way he likes it. There’s a reason he didn’t put his name on the door 17 years ago when he left the hedge fund Cypress Funds in L.A. to open his own firm in Silicon Valley. “I’m not crazy about being the center of attention. I never wanted to do this by myself. I think you can be successful if you’re part of a successful team.”

Certainly, Artis has seen its share of success. In one of its most notable deals, it invested in YouTube before the company sold to Google in 2006. A family connection seemingly helped. At the time, Artis employed David Lamond, son of renowned VC Pierre Lamond, who spent 30 years with Sequoia Capital, another early YouTube investor.

Artis also invested alongside Sequoia in a number of other deals, including Aruba Networks, which went public in 2007 and was acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise in 2015. Lamond left Artis in 2012 to form his own firm.

Artis — whose newer bets include troubled Juicero , along with  Zenrez, a company that sells pricing technology and tools to fitness studios — more recently made a killing off the sale of cancer drug developer Stemcentrix to AbbVie last year for $10.2 billion.

Artis led Stemcentrix’s Series A round and Peterson sat on the company’s board. In fact, though Founders Fund has received much attention for leading the company’s Series B round (it reportedly returned $1.4 billion off a $300 million investment in the company), Peterson says Artis made “just less than $1 billion” from its $35 million investment in the company.

Asked how he landed the deal, Peterson points to a 2010 event to unveil a social app’s fund created by Kleiner Perkins. At the time, famed VC John Doerr was hosting a panel that included Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Doerr asked Bezos what advice he had for investors and founders.

“If I were coming out of school today,” said Bezos, “I think I would be very passionate about genetic engineering, synthetic life, I think these are incredible areas . . .”

Doerr, confused by the change of subject, interrupted, “On social networks?”

“No,” Bezos continued, “I’m talking about test tubes and engineering real biological organisms to solve clean energy and a whole bunch of interest issues.”

“I was blown away by that,” says Peterson, whose firm has invested roughly a billion dollars since its inception, some of it in life sciences companies, and much of it via special purpose vehicles whose funding has come from CEOs, CFOs, actors and sports stars. Says Peterson, “They love the idea of access, and they’ve added a tremendous amount of value to companies that we’ve funded.”

So where is Peterson — who plans to raise a fund for Artis next year — getting his leads today? We asked him that and much more in a wide-ranging conversation yesterday. Here’s an outtake:

More here.

A Word from Our Sponsor

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a data-centric PR agency specializing in securing targeted media coverage for an array of global venture-backed startups and venture capital firms, including Mercury Fund, Next Coast Ventures and Signal Peak Ventures. With its proprietary scalable retainer model and team of experienced PR professionals and ex-journalists, Treble operates as a newsroom by reverse-engineering thought leaders into the news cycle. The founder of Treble penned a piece on how startups can capitalize on PR to accelerate the path to exit. Check out media coverage highlights here.

New Fundings

Consortia Health, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based health care company helping physicians treat patients with pelvic disorders, has raised $2 million in funding led by Ponil Ventures, with participation from Golden Seeds and Belle Michigan. More here.

DreamCheaper, a two-year-old, Berlin-based startup that helps users re-book their hotel reservations for less money, has raised €1.5 million ($1.6 million) in funding, including from Holtzbrinck Ventures and TruVenturo. Tnooz has more here.

Groq, a new, Bay Area-based stealth next-gen computing startup led by former members of Google’s Tensor Processing Unit (which is itself at work on new computer processors that squeeze more power onto less silicon), have raised $10.3 million in funding from Social Capital. (For what it’s worth, a highly regarded founder and investor told us last night that, on the spectrum of “real” to “bullsh_t” investments, investment in chips capable of powering AI is “real.”) CNBC has the scoop here.

Pitchy, a 3.5-year-old, Paris-based personalized video company, raised €4 million ($4.3 million) in funding from Seventure Partners and the Fonds Ambition Numérique. Tech.eu has more here.

SenseTime, a three-year-old, Beijing, China-based facial recognition tech developer, has raised $60 million in funding led by Sailing Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Swingvy, a year-old, Singapore-based HR platform for small and mid-size businesses, has raised $1.1 million in seed funding from Big Basin Capital and Walden International. TechCrunch has more here.

RotoQL, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based daily fantasy sports data and analytics company, has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Boston Seed Capital, top-ranked fantasy sports player Saahil Sud, and DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. VentureBeat has more here.

New Funds

The family office of former Walgreens CEO Gregory Wasson and a team of entrepreneurs have formed a new outfit, Innventure, which aims to develop businesses around new technologies created inside big corporations. Its first partner is Procter & Gamble. Dealbook has more here.

IPOs

Netmarble Games of South Korea, the ninth-largest game publisher in the world, is set to raise as much as $2.3 billion after pricing its IPO at the top of its targeted range. The company’s public offering will be Korea’s biggest since Samsung Life Insurance in 2010. Bloomberg has the story here.

Exits

Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy Cloudyn, an Israel-based cloud computing developer. Cloudyn has raised more than  $20 million in funding, including from Carmel Ventures and Infosys. Fortune has more here.

Snap just paid $7.7 million for a patent on “geofilters,” or photo filters based on location, which advertisers can buy. It acquired the patent from the Israeli company Mobli, an Instagram competitor launched six years and that had patented the idea of geo-photo filters in 2012. TechCrunch has more here.

People

Jeff Dunn, the former Coca-Cola executive who became CEO of Juicero last year, said yesterday that customers can return their pricey juicers to the company for a full refund (now that it’s become plain that the juicers are kinda superfluous). Note: the offer expires in 30 days.

Elon Musk has just taken on a third CEO role. As they say in “Fargo,” uff da.

Hyperloop One, the company trying to create a tube-based, high-speed transport system, has lost its chief marketing officer, Kimberly Salzer, to a robotics company.

Essential Reads

How Amazon will become the first $1 trillion stock.

Startups rarely file for bankruptcy, but that might change.

New allegations about Theranos. (Another day, another tidbit!)

Driver retention at Uber is horrible, evidently. According to The Information, just 4 percent of people who sign up to drive for the company are still driving a year later.

Detours

The best undiscovered beaches in the world.

A speedy workout that changes your brain.<

Retail Therapy

Sony’s Alpha a9 camera. Wired calls it the company’s “most beastly shooter yet.”


StrictlyVC: April 20, 2017

Dudes. Wishing you a happy 4/20. May you end your day without having suffered through too many pot jokes.:)

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a data-centric PR agency specializing in securing targeted media coverage for an array of global venture-backed startups and venture capital firms, including Mercury Fund, Next Coast Ventures and Signal Peak Ventures. With its proprietary scalable retainer model and team of experienced PR professionals and ex-journalists, Treble operates as a newsroom by reverse-engineering thought leaders into the news cycle. The founder of Treble penned a piece on how startups can capitalize on PR to accelerate the path to exit. Check out media coverage highlights here.

Top News in the A.M.

Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its Chrome browser that will filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users. The WSJ has more here.

Yesterday, we told you that Oracle has acquired the seven-year-old, ad measurement company Moat, which helps advertisers and publishers measure whether people see and interact with online ads. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but a source now tells Recode the price is a healthy $850 million. More here.

Gladly, Incubated at Greylock, Lands $36M in Fresh Funding

There’s no shortage of customer service startups trying to meet the changing expectations of consumers, who want to Tweet, phone, text and use Facebook Messenger, among other newer ways to get their points across. In fact, according to the investment platform AngelList, there are now 960 companies currently operating around customer care.

That hasn’t deterred Joseph Ansanelli, who joined Greylock Partners as a general partner in 2012 but who’d first started and sold three companies and was itching to do it again.

As he recalls it, he was having dinner with colleague Aneel Bhusri, a former Greylock partner (and now advisor) and the co-founding CEO of the HR and financial management company Workday. It was 2012, Workday had just gone public and the two were talking about the onerous but exciting process of starting companies. Before he knew it, Ansanelli was calling enterprise customers — contacts from his earlier life as a founder — and asking them what they were lacking.

The two things he learned from those conversations were, “first, that they were getting tons of demands and requests from consumers about more ways to communicate, and second, a lot of the [related] software available to them was on-premise stuff centered around case numbers and tickets.”

And customers, says Ansanelli, “don’t like being a case or ticket number.”

In fact, his newest cloud-based company, Gladly, quickly formed around the idea of an enterprise-class company that did away with them, and he moved to get his old band together. Toward that end, he reached out to Michael Wolfe, who was Ansanelli’s co-founder at Vontu, a data loss prevention software company that was acquired by Symantec for $350 million in 2007, as well as Connectify, a company they sold in 1999 to Kana Communications. (Old timers may remember that Kana was a dot-com darling that helped pioneer the concept of email for customer service. It went public in 1999 and was taken private again in 2010.)

Ansanelli separately called up Dirk Kessler, who was Connectify’s first engineer but who’d met Ansanelli at the outset of their careers when both worked at Apple. Even Jenny Roy, a marketing professional who’d worked at Vontu, was tapped again; today’s she’s Gladly’s VP of marketing.

What the trusted colleagues have built, says Ansanelli, is more than another new ticketing system aimed at small and medium size businesses.

More here.

New Fundings

August Home, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based maker of smart doorlocks, has raised more than $17 million, shows an SEC filing that was first flagged by Axios and shows a target amount of $25 million. The company had previously raised $48 million from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners, CAA Ventures, and Cowboy Ventures, among others. More here.

Bedly, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based platform for renters that manages everything from furnishing apartments to screening roommates to setting up utilities, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by Accomplice, with participation from Founder Collective. TechCrunch has more here.

Freebird, a two-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based travel booking app that enables travelers to re-book tickets on the fly in the event of a flight cancellation (on any airline and at no additional cost), has raised $5 million in funding co-led by General Catalyst Partners and Accomplice. Xconomy has more here.

Getaround, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based car sharing startup, has raised $45 million in Series C funding led by Braemar Energy Ventures, with participation from Toyota, SAIC, and earlier backers Menlo Ventures and Triangle Peak Partners. According to Fortune, the new round values the company at $176 million. (Getaround has so far raised roughly $100 million from investors, shows Crunchbase.) More here.

Invertex, a three-year-old, Israel-based fashion-tech company whose 3D scanning technology ostensibly allows customer-specific e-commerce, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by OurCrowd, with participation from Permoda and angel investors. CrowdFund Insider has more here.

MakeSpace, a four-year-old, New York-based self-storage company that enables users to order the retrieval of their items on demand, has raised $30 million in funding from 8VC, Upfront Ventures, Harmony Partners, and Summit Action. TechCrunch has more here.

Microvast Power Systems, an 11-year-old, Stafford, Tex.-based subsidiary of the China-based battery system manufacturer Microvast, has raised $400 million in funding. CITIC Securities led the round, with participation from CDH Investment and National Venture Capital, among others. More here.

MortgageHippo, a four-year-old, Chicago-based provider of white-label digital mortgage solutions to lenders, has raised $2.25 million in seed funding led by CMFG Ventures. The Chicago Tribune has more here.

Narrative Science, a nearly seven-year-old, Chicago-based natural-language-generation technology company, has raised $11 million in Series D funding from previous investors Sapphire Ventures and Jump Capital. The company has now raised $43 million altogether. More here.

Paytm, a seven-year-old, Noida, India-based electronics payment company that started off with mobile recharge and utility bill payments, is reportedly talking with SoftBank Group about a round of between $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion that would value the company at more than $7 billion. LiveMint has more here.

SafeGraph, a San Francisco-based machine learning data company that’s initially focused on geospatial data, has raised $16 million in Series A funding from IDG Ventures, Peter Thiel, former congressman Eric Cantor, and Starwood Capital Group CEO Barry Sternlicht. Ad Exchanger has more here.

Solv, a year-old, San Francisco-based service for booking same-day doctor’s appointments, raised $6.25 million in Series A funding led by Benchmark Capital. Fortune has more here.

TurboTenant, a 1.5-year-old, Fort Collins, Co.-based provider of rental property management software for independent landlords, has raised $1.5 million in growth equity funding led by FrontRange Capital Partners. More here.

Yeecall, a 2.5-year-old, China-based mobile app company that enables users to make free voice and video calls, has raised $12 million in funding led by Addor Capital, with participation from earlier investors including Sinovation Ventures. Asian Venture Capital Journal has more here (sub required).

ZappRx, a five-year-old, Boston-based app for managing drug prescriptions, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Qiming US, with participation from SR One and GV. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Combine, a new, San Francisco-based venture firm founded by Soleio Cuervo (formerly head of design at Dropbox) and Adam Michela (most recently director of experience architecture at Airbnb), has raised $10.9 million for its debut fund, shows an SEC filing. Its bare-bones site is here.

DFJ Growth, the 11-year-old growth-stage arm of the 31-year-old Sand Hill Road firm, has closed its third vehicle with $535 million, slightly more than it was targeting when it began fundraising in the spring of last year. It had closed its previous growth fund with $470 million in May 2014. We have more here.

Exits

Marketo has acquired ToutApp, a  six-year-old, San Francisc-based sales software company that had raised at least $21.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Jackson Square Ventures, Founder Collective, and others. Marketo, which is backed by Vista Equity Partners, is using the deal to help connect its “mar-tech” software with sales software, reports Fortune. More here.

Insight Venture Partners has acquired Austin, Tex.-based Spanning Cloud Apps, a SaaS data protection company that Dell EMC had acquired in late 2014. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. More here.

Optimizely, an eight-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based provider of A/B testing services, has acquired Experiment Engine, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based platform for managing A/B testing. Terms aren’t being disclosed. According to Crunchbase, Experiment Engine had raised $1 million from Corsa Ventures, Founder Collective, and the Mercury Fund. TechCrunch has more here.

The publicly traded high-speed trading firm Virtu Financial is acquiring its publicly traded rival, KCG Holdings, for approximately $1.4 billion in cash, which represents a 13 percent premium over KCG’s closing price yesterday. The companies say they expect the deal to close in the third quarter. CNBC has more here.

People

Reese Witherspoon on what Hollywood and venture capital have in common.

Data

Turns out people ages 13 and 35 aren’t as into electric or autonomous vehicles as you might guess.

Essential Reads

Theranos investors say they were pressured to abandon their lawsuit against the blood-testing company.

Donald Trump pledged in January to quickly develop a program for countering hackers, but no one seems to know who’s in charge or where it is.

Juice machines and red flags.

Detours

Last December, we talked with Niklas Zennstrom about Atomico’s investment in what is, in effect, a flying car company. That outfit, Lilium, just successfully tested its jet; you can check it out here.

In other, much worse news, there’s apparently a rat within 25 feet of everybody at all times.

Retail Therapy

Native Campervans, if you’re looking to rent a fully furnished camper van; GR-Gear if you’re looking for a bespoke model to own.


StrictlyVC: April 19, 2017

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a data-centric PR agency specializing in securing targeted media coverage for an array of global venture-backed startups and venture capital firms, including Mercury Fund, Next Coast Ventures and Signal Peak Ventures. With its proprietary scalable retainer model and team of experienced PR professionals and ex-journalists, Treble operates as a newsroom by reverse-engineering thought leaders into the news cycle. The founder of Treble penned a piece on how startups can capitalize on PR to accelerate the path to exit. Check out media coverage highlights here.

Top News in the A.M.

The International Monetary Fund just raised its outlook for global growth, citing a postelection surge in confidence in the U.S., better prospects in large emerging markets, and an uptick in global trade. The rosy forecast is something of a change of mind for the fund, reports Dealbook.

The German media company Axel Springer has taken an undisclosed stake in Uber, the companies confirmed earlier today.

This Pet Supplies Company Just Sold in the Biggest E-Commerce Deal Ever

If you haven’t heard of Chewy, you aren’t alone. But PetSmart, the retail giant with more than 1,500 stores across the U.S., has clearly been tracking the low-flying, five-year-old pet supplies company. According to Recode, it just agreed to purchase its young rival for a stunning $3.35 billion, just slightly more than Walmart paid for Jet.com last year.

This editor only heard of Chewy for the first time last fall, when talking with one of its earlier investors, Larry Cheng of the Boston-based growth equity fund Volition Capital; Volition had written Chewy its $15 million Series A check in 2013, and the company had been growing quietly like a weed, he’d told me.

By design, that began to change late last year, when Bloomberg wrote a long profile about the Dania, Fla., company and the $236 million it had subsequently raised from investors, including BlackRock and New Horizon, the venture arm of mutual fund T. Rowe Price. Until then, said its chairman, billionaire e-commerce veteran Mark Vadon, his advice to the team had been to keep a low profile to better to avoid competition.

It was something of a feat. By the time Bloomberg published its story, the company had more than 3,000 employees and more than $880 million in annual revenue.

Its apparent key to success: personalization, from writing customers hand-written thank you and holiday cards to dedicating roughly one-sixth of its employees to customer service so pet owners’ questions could be answered quickly. Free shipping on orders over $49 also helped.

Perhaps as a result, the company hadn’t yet reached profitability, Bloomberg noted, but no matter.

More here.

New Fundings

Barnebys, a six-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based online service that allows people to search for, compare, and buy items from dealers and auction houses around the world, has raised $3.3 million in funding Industrifonden, Howsat Venture Partners, Accum Kapital and Kichi Invest. More here.

BIMA, a nearly seven-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based startup focused on mobile-delivered insurance in emerging markets, has raised $16.8 million in funding led by Axiata Digital, with participation from Kinnevik, Milicom, LeapFrog Investments, and Digicel. Tech.eu has more here.

CyberGRX, a year-old, Denver, Co.-based cyber risk management platform, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Aetna Ventures, Allegis Capital, ClearSky, GV, MassMutual Ventures, Rally Ventures, and TenEleven Ventures. The company has now raised $29 million altogether. Fortune has more here.

DadeSystems, a six-year-old, Miami, Fla.-based company whose software automates the accounts receivable process, has raised $2 million in funding from Ocean Azul Partners. More here.

Dome9 Security, a six-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based cloud infrastructure security company, has raised $16.5 million in Series C funding led by Softbank. VentureBeat has more here.

Onkos Surgical, a two-year-old, Parsippany, N.J.-based medtech company focused on surgical oncology, has raised $17.6 million in Series B funding led by Canaan Partners, with participation from earlier investors 1315 Capital and 3D Systems. More here.

Sapho, a three-year-old, San Bruno, Ca.-based company whose enterprise software platform aims to surface relevant tasks and data using micro apps, has raised $14 million in Series B funding led by Caffeinated CapitalFelicis Ventures also joined the round, along with earlier backers Alsop Louie Partners, SoftTech VC, Morado Ventures, AME Cloud, and Bloomberg Beta. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Nasdaq just launched a new venture investment program, Nasdaq Ventures, which will look to invest in and partner with fintech startups around the world. Investments are expected to range from $1 million to $10 million. Banking Technology has more here.

Nauta Capital, a 17-year-old, early-stage venture firm with offices in London, Barcelona, Spain and the U.S. (in Boston), has closed its newest fund with $170 million in capital commitments. TechCrunch has more here.

IPOs

Bright Scholar Education, an operator of international and bilingual schools in China, has filed for a $200 million IPO in the U.S., with plans to trade on the NYSE. The company is almost entirely owned by two groups: Excellence Education Investment Limited, which owns a whopping 72.6 percent of the company, and Ultimate Wise Group Ltd., which owns 20 percent. Nasdaq has more here.

Exits

AirAsia, the budget airline for Southeast Asia that’s headquartered in Malaysia, has bought a 50 percent share in the two-year-old, Malaysia-based trip planning service Touristly in a deal worth $2.6 million. TechCrunch has more on the tie-up here.

Microsoft is acquiring Intentional Software, a 15-year-old, Bellevue, Wash. software programming company that was founded by Excel and Word creator Charles Simonyi (who has also famously visited space, twice, as a tourist). Terms weren’t disclosed. GeekWire has more here.

Oracle has acquired the seven-year-old, ad measurement company Moat, which helps advertisers and publishers measure whether people see and interact with online ads. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. Oracle says that Moat will continue to operate as an independent platform within Oracle Data Cloud, with the Moat team joining Oracle. Moat had raised more than $67 million from investors, including SV Angel, Mayfield and Insight Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

People

The celebrity “techsplainer” of Beverly Hills.

Jobs

Cambridge Associates is looking to hire a senior invesment director. The job is in Boston.

The cross-border venture firm DCM is looking to bring someone new into its two-year associate program (from which people are sometimes promoted to an investment manager role). The job is in the Bay Area. No cold emails but we hear a “warm intro” to anyone on its team will do the trick.

Data

The percentage of U.S.-based venture-backed startups with a female cofounder: 17 percent. That number hasn’t moved in five years, says Crunchbase. More here.

Essential Reads

Everything that Facebook launched at its F8 conference yesterday and why.

Baidu said yesterday it plans to share software technology that it’s developing for self-driving cars in a bid to catch up with competitors like General Motors and Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet. As the WSJ notes, this same open-platform concept was tested by Tesla nearly three years ago, when the company decided to offer open access to Tesla’s patents to drive electric-vehicle sales more broadly.

Fast Company looks at what went wrong with the social payments company Tilt (which Airbnb just acquired for a song).

Juicero has raised $120 million from Silicon Valley investors for its whiz-bang juicing machine. But oops, it turns out its juice packs can be squeezed by hand.

Detours

Life is a little different in Palo Alto.

How Harvard created Steve Bannon.

Math problems for English majors.

Retail Therapy

Airportag(s).


StrictlyVC: April 18, 2017

Happy Tuesday, all! We’re a little crazed today; in addition to our upcoming event, we’ve been helping map out TechCrunch’s upcoming Disrupt event in New York May 15th through May 17th, where we’re excited to say we’ll be sitting down with Adam Neumann of WeWork, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, and, for a talk on where the market is headed, investors Stuart Ellman, Maha Ibrahim, and Amish Jani. (TC just released the full agenda if you’d like to take a look/buy tickets.)

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a data-centric PR agency specializing in securing targeted media coverage for an array of global venture-backed startups and venture capital firms, including Mercury Fund, Next Coast Ventures and Signal Peak Ventures. With its proprietary scalable retainer model and team of experienced PR professionals and ex-journalists, Treble operates as a newsroom by reverse-engineering thought leaders into the news cycle. The founder of Treble penned a piece on how startups can capitalize on PR to accelerate the path to exit. Check out media coverage highlights here.

Top News in the A.M.

Facebook just launched an augmented reality developer platform to take AR “mainstream.”

Fortune is reporting today that Houzz, the Sequoia-backed online platform for home remodeling and design services, it talking with investors about a $500 million round that would value the company at more than $5 billion, information that the company claims is “not true.” More here.

Verizon is reportedly open to merger possibilities and would consider talks with Comcast, Walt Disney Co. or CBS Corp., according to CEO Lowell McAdam. Bloomberg News has more here.

New Fundings

Avegant, a 4.5-year-old, Belmont, Ca.-based developer of displays for holographic or mixed reality headsets, has raised $13.7 million in funding led by the China-based mobile middleware and applications company Hangzhou Lianluo Interactive, with participation from earlier investors Intel and Applied Materials. More here.

CLEAR, the 6.5-year-old, New York-based biometric security firm that’s popular in U.S. airports and stadiums, has raised $15 million from T. Rowe Price. More here.

Credihealth, a 3.5-year-old, New Delhi, India-based network of hospitals, has raised $1.5 million from Tolaram Group and Mountain Pine Capital. The Economic Times has more here.

Factom, a two-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that uses blockchain technology to secure and verify data like public records and business documents, has nearly doubled its Series A round and closing it at $8 million. New investors include Peeli Ventures, Harvest Equity, and a group of local Austin investors; they join earlier investor Draper Associates. Xconomy has more here.

Innefu Labs, a six-year-old, New Delhi, India-based artificial intelligence startup, has raised $2 million in Series A funding from IndiaNivesh Venture Capital Fund, with participation from former KPMG partner (and earlier investors) Bala Swaminathan. Inc 42 has more here.

Murj, a 1.5-year-old, Santa Cruz, Ca.-based digital health company that streamlines care for patients with implantable cardiac devices, has raised more than $4.5 million in Series A financing led by True Ventures, with participation from Social Capital and seed investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Mux, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based performance analytics provider for video developers and media publishers, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Accel Partners. More here.

PowerPost, a 1.5-year-old, St. Louis-based SaaS content marketing platform, has raised $2 million in  funding from Arsenal Capital Management. The St. Louis Business Journal has more here (sub required).

Reltio, a six-year-old, Redwood Shores, Ca.-based enterprise data management platform, has raised $40 million in Series C funding co-led by NEA and Sapphire Ventures, with participation from Crosslink Capital and .406 Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.

Shine, a year-old, Brooklyn-based startup behind a daily messaging service focused around well-being, has raised $2.5 million in a round led by Betaworks. Eniac Ventures, Female Founders Fund, Felix Capital, Comcast Ventures, BBG Ventures, and the New York Times also joined the round. VentureBeat has more here.

Vicis, a nearly four-year-old, Seattle-based company that makes high-tech football helmets and originally spun out of the University of Washington, has raised $9 million as part of a convertible note that brings the company’s total funding to $30 million. Forbes has more here.

Xero Limited, a nearly 11-year-old, Wellington, New Zealand-based company that makes online accounting and bookkeeping software and went public in 2007, has sold 1.4 million of its shares (which trade on the New Zealand Exchange) to Technology Crossover Ventures. The company’s shares have previously been picked up by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Matrix Capital Management, and Accel Partners. More here.

New Funds

Obvious Ventures, a San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm cofounded by famed founder Ev Williams, has raised $178 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing. The firm notably closed its debut fund roughly two years ago with $123,456,789.

Silver Lake has closed its fifth buyout fund at $15 billion, one of the biggest ever dedicated to technology deals. Dealbook has more here.

Zetta Venture Partners, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, has raised $125 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing. We talked with Zetta about its mission in 2015,  when it closed its debut fund with $60 million.

IPOs

Carvana, the five-year-old, Phoenix-based online and offline used car platform, that filed to go public late last month, has set its IPO terms, revealing plans to sell 15 million shares at between $14 and $16 per share, for a market value of around $2.1 billion in the middle of that range. Carvana has raised at least $300 million from investors, including Verde Investments and an outfit called CVAN Holdings.

Cloudera, a nine-year-old Palo Alto, Ca.-based data management and analytics software platform, has proposed valuing itself at half what private investors assigned it during its last round of funding. The company is expected to go public later this month. TechCrunch has more here.

Exits

Bustle, a four-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based content site that caters to millennial women, has acquired New York-based online publisher Elite Daily from The Daily Mail for an undisclosed amount. Bustle has so far raised roughly $40 million from investors, shows Crunchbase. Business Insider has more here.

Publicly traded Cardinal Health has agreed to acquire the medical supply unit of Medtronic for $6.1 billion in cash. CNBC has more here.

SeatGeek, the eight-year-old, New York-based ticket search engine, has acquired  Israeli ticketing software company TopTix for $56 million, the largest acquisition in SeatGeek’s history. To fund the deal, SeatGeek had raised $57 million in Series D funding led by Glynn Capital, with participation from earlier backers Accel Partners, Causeway Media Partners, Haystack Partners, Mousse Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures. More here.

Zozi, the drama-filled travel industry startup whose former CEO recently sued its board, has been acquired by Peek, a rival in the tours and activities business where Zozi also competes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Zozi had raised at least $44 million from investors, including the Pritzker family. Peek has raised roughly $17 million (including from Gigi Pritzker, for what it’s worth). TechCrunch has more here.

People

General partner Ophelia Brown has left LocalGlobe, the venture fund founded by father-and-son duo Robin and Saul Klein. No word on her next moves but she tells TechCrunch she’s “definitely staying in venture.” (Perhaps unrelated but interesting timing at least: Fred Destin is leaving Accel Partners in London, possibly to start his own firm.)

Forbes has published its newest Midas List. (We hate this list, but we know it’s a nice nod to those of you who are on it.)

Jobs

Aetna is looking to hire a senior manager into its corporate development and M&A team. The job is in Hartford, Ct.

Essential Reads

In addition to a host of other things, Facebook today launched a beta of Spaces, its social VR platform. TechCrunch has more here.

Theranos is saying it will stay out of the blood-testing business for at least two years in exchange for reduced penalties from federal health authorities. The WSJ has more here.

Donald Trump today orderered a review of  H-1B visa programs today to favor more skilled and highly paid applicants. Bloomberg has more here.

Detours

Twenty-five etiquette tips to learn from The Plaza Hotel’s Finish Program.

A field guide to corporate hugging.

A researcher’s defense of binge watching (woot!).

Retail Therapy

The greatest late-night snacks from around the world.


StrictlyVC: April 17, 2017

Hi there, happy Monday, everyone!

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a data-centric PR firm out of Austin that says it’s been a vital component in helping five startups to achieve an exit in the firm’s first 45 months. In addition to successfully executing funding and news announcements and content programs for VC firms and venture backed startups, Treble specializes in accelerating traction for CEOs and VCs by reverse engineering individual thought leaders into breaking news. The founder of Treble penned a piece on how startups can capitalize on PR to accelerate the path to exit. Check it out here.

This week, we also have five more tickets to release to readers, courtesy of Bullish, the creative agency and investment firm that we’re pleased to call a partner in our upcoming event in San Francisco on May 4th. If you’d like to come, tell us: who do you think Uber should appoint as its COO and why? We’re sleepy; you’re smart. Let’s put your brains to work while we make some fresh coffee.:) To shoot us your idea(s), just hit reply to this email.

Top News in the A.M.

New York City wants Uber to add a tipping option in its app, it said in a proposal this morning. More here.

A New On-Demand Battle is Speeding Toward the U.S.

While Uber’s woes take center stage in the U.S., a different on-demand battle that’s been playing out in China is coming to the states.

The battle isn’t over car sharing. It’s not over bus sharing, either, though that, too, is a growing focus for investors and automotive companies that are desperate to understand how cities and transportation are changing. This clash is over the latest wrinkle in urban bike-sharing – dockless bike sharing. And it has founders and VCs around the globe seeing dollar signs, while regulators are wrestling – again — with how to ensure they’re not victims of a trend that seemed to emerge nearly overnight.

“Dockless bike sharing is something that people worry about until they realize it’s a benefit” to society, says Atomico cofounder Mattias Ljungman, who calls the ability to leave one’s bicycle where a trip ends “the real revolution here.” Docking stations are “very complicated,” he says. “Not only do riders need to know where to park their bikes, but sometimes the stations are full. It’s a pain.”

Atomico has already placed a big bet on Ofo, a Beijing-based dockless bike-share company that has so far raised roughly $580 million from VCs at a post-money valuation of north of $1 billion. China-based investors are looking to pour even more into the three-year-old company given its current momentum, suggests Ljungman, citing the more than one million connected bikes it has already placed on city streets in China, and customers who are taking an astonishing 10 million rides per day, compared with the roughly 10 million rides per year that London’s public bike-sharing service powers.

The story is much the same for 16-month-old, Shanghai-based Mobike, which also claims to have more than a million bikes in its fleet and has raised $410 million from investors at a valuation that the WSJ reports is north of $1 billion.

Another Beijing-based bike-share company, Bluegogo, is drafting behind both. Founded a mere six months ago, it has already raised at least $65 million from investors.

Still, China is not the U.S; it remains to be seen if a variation of the model will work here. “Just as China will tell you that things that work in the rest of the world won’t work in China because of its 5,000-year-long cultural history, things in China don’t necessarily work [in the U.S.] either,” says Sean O’Sullivan, the founder and managing director of the venture firm SOSV.

Friend or foe

O’Sullivan has been watching dockless bike sharing as closely as anyone. Like a growing number of VCs, he has a horse in this race.

More here.

New Fundings

Actility, a seven-year-old Paris-based Internet of Things startup, has raised $75 million, including the private equity firm Creadev SAS, the industrial company Robert Bosch GmbH and satellite operator Inmarsat Plc. Earlier backers also joined the round, including Ginko Ventures (the European investment fund of Foxconn) and the wireless network companies Koninklijke KPN NV, Orange SA and Swisscom AG. Bloomberg has more here.

Aspect Imaging, a three-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based life science company and maker of compact MRI systems, has raised $30 million in funding from undisclosed investors. FinSMEs has more here.

Flowhub, a two-year-old, Denver, Co.-based compliance platform for the cannabis industry, has raised $3.3 million in Series A funding led by Green Lion Partners and Phyto Partners. More here.

Frequency Therapeutics, a two-year-old, Woburn, Ma.-based startup at work on small molecule drugs that recreate sensory cells in the inner ear to treat chronic noise-induced hearing loss, has raised $32 million in Series A funding. CoBro Ventures led the round, with participation from Morningside Ventures, Emigrant Capital, Korean Investment Partnership and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. FierceBiotech has more here.

LeanDNA, a six-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that sells data analytics to manufacturers, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding led by Next Coast Ventures. More here.

More Health, a 1.5-year-old, Beijing, China-based mobile health management platform, has raised $36.3 million in Series B funding from CITIC Capital and a private equity fund jointly established by the Agricultural Bank of China and the Wuxi government. China Money Network has more here.

Zhejiang POCTech Medical, a Huzhou, China-based company that’s developing wearable medical devices, has raised $14.5 million in Series B funding from Bioventure Investment Management, Tasley Great Health Industry Fund, Tonghua Dongbao Pharmaceutical, and earlier investor Legend Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Zinc, a year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based secure enterprise mobile communication platform, has raised $11 million in funding led by GE Ventures, with participation from Hearst Ventures, as well as earlier backers Emergence Capital and CRV. The company has now raised $16 million altogether. More here.

New Funds

Oak HC/FT, an fintech and healthcare-focused investment firm that was spun out of Oak Investment Partners in 2014, just closed its second fund with $600 million. Its debut fund had closed with $500 million in late 2014. More here.

IPOs

Cloudera, a nine-year-old Palo Alto, Ca.-based data management and analytics software platform, announced terms for its IPO this morning. The game plan: to raise $195 million by offering 15 million shares priced between $12 and $14 per share. Cloudera’s biggest outside shareholders include Intel, Accel Partners, and Greylock Partners. Its newest filing is here.

Exits

Ant Financial, the financial-services company controlled by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, has boosted its offer for MoneyGram International by 36 percent to $18 a share in cash in response to a counterbid by Euronet Worldwide. TechCrunch has more here.

VMware has agreed to acquire Wavefront, a metrics monitoring service for the cloud. Terms were not disclosed. Wavefront had raised $65 million in funding from investors, including Tenaya Capital and Sequoia Capital. SDxCentral has more here.

Walmart is reportedly in late-stage talks to acquire Bonobos, the New York-based ecommerce men’s clothing apparel company. According to Crunchbase, Bonobos has raised $127 million from investors to date, including Coppel Capital, Accel Partners, Nordstrom, Accel Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Recode has more here.

Wercker, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company that helps developers test and deploy code at a rapid pace, has been acquired for undisclosed terms by Oracle. The company had raised $7.5 million to date, including from Inkef Capital and Notion Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

People

Ten female founders whose China-based companies are growing fast. (We would have employed a different headline than this author, but…)

This man is spending millions of dollars to break Elon Musk’s Trump ties.

Jobs

Cruise Automation, the driverless car company acquired last year by GM, is looking for a head of M&A. The job is in San Francisco.

GE Ventures is looking to hire three paid summer interns to assist with product development, market research, and data science. Ideal candidates are completing their MBAs or masters programs and have some start-up or investing experience. The first two jobs are in Menlo Park, Ca., and the third is in Boston.

Essential Reads

Uber is losing historic amounts of money.

Inside the hotel industry’s plan to combat Airbnb.

Buzzfeed on Mark Zuckerberg’s “likability blitz.”

Okay. Maybe it’s time to start worrying.

Detours

How we arrived at #vanlife.

A very funny piece of writing.

How the airlines became cartels.

Retail Therapy

This does seem like it would be good for one’s well-being.


StrictlyVC: April 14, 2017

Friday! Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone. (No column; we’re still working on something that we’ll post on TC later.)

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a data-centric PR firm out of Austin that has been a vital component in helping five startups to achieve an exit in the firm’s first 45 months. In addition to successfully executing funding and news announcements and content programs for VC firms and venture backed startups, Treble specializes in accelerating traction for CEOs and VCs by reverse engineering individual thought leaders into breaking news. The founder of Treble penned a piece on how startups can capitalize on PR to accelerate the path to exit. Check it out here.

Top News in the A.M.

Apple has received a permit to test autonomous cars in California, the first official confirmation that company has self-driving plans up its sleeve after all.

Facebook is ramping up its efforts to kill off sham accounts used to spread fake news, pass along malware and falsely boost page rankings.

New Fundings

Akoonu, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based SaaS product that analyzes current and past marketing and sales activity data to understand compare buyer behavior, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Shasta Ventures. More here.

BestMile, a three-year-old, Lausanne, Switzerland-based fleet-optimization platform for driverless vehicles, has added $2 million in seed funding to a previously closed round, bringing its total to $5.5 million. Investors include Partech Ventures, Serena Capital, and Airbus Ventures. More here.

Intapp, a nearly 17-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company whose business applications are used by law firms and professional services firms, has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Temasek. DealStreetAsia has more here.

Lynn Electronics, a 53-year-old, Ivyland, Pa. manufacturer of data and telecommunications products, raised $14.3 million in funding from NewSpring Capital. The Philadelphia Business Journal has more here (sub required).

Wecash, a four-year-old, Beijing, China-based credit assessment outfit, has raised $80 million in Series C funding led by China Merchants Group, Forebright Capital and SIG Ventures, with participation from Joinhope Capital and Lingfeng Capital. DealStreetAsia has more here.

New Funds

Haiyin Capital, a Beijing, China-based venture capital firm, and the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer, a Washington, D.C.-based association of students and university startup officers, have teamed up to form a joint venture to provide venture funding to startups formed at American universities. The American-Chinese University Growth Fund will reportedly provide at least $1 billion of funding from Chinese investors to U.S. university startups over the next decade. FinSMEs has a bit more here.

IPOs

G1 Therapeutics, a five-year-old, Chapel Hill, N.C.-based developer of small molecules for use in cancer therapy and biodefense applications, has filed for a $115 million IPO. More here.

Exits

Abbott Laboratories is finally closing its proposed deal to buy publicly traded medical test maker Alere for $5.3 billion, $500 million less than the original proposed price.  The agreement brings to a close one of the medical-technology industry’s most contentious acquisitions, reports Bloomberg.

Artsy, an eight-year-old, New York-based recommendation system for art discovery, has acquired data science startup ArtAdvisor in what sounds like a small (one-person?) acqui-hire. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but ArtAdvisor’s founder, Hugo Liu, is becoming Artsy’s chief scientist. Artsy has raised roughly $52 million from investors, shows Crunchbase.

People

Jeff Bezos‘s compelling annual letter to shareholders, released on Wednesday, explains why it’s always Day 1 at Amazon. (TL;DR: Day 2 is for losers.)

Poor Dan Rochind, the COO and CFO of low-flying Marker LLC, inexplicably decided to tell the New York Post about his past dating habits and how he “could have had [anyone] I wanted” before becoming engaged last year. Predictably, there has been fallout.

Jobs

Here’s an interesting one: Jyoti Bansal, cofounder of AppDynamics — acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion in January — is looking to hire an analyst/associate to help him with his growing portfolio of seed-stage deals. The job is in San Francisco.

Insider Event

A quick reminder and notice for new readers: On Thursday evening, May 4, in San Francisco, we’re hosting our seventh Insider series event at the modern offices and gallery of NextWorld Capital. Guest speakers include The RealReal’s Julie Wainwright, whose retail consignment business is leading a field that’s never been more crowded; Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown, whose famed (and right now, hard to find) plant-based burgers are just a glimmer of what’s to come; Confide CEO Jon Brod, whose New York-based secure messaging company is having its best, and worst, year yet; and two founders of Lightspeed Venture Partners who’ve had a very good 2017: Barry Eggers (whose daughter famously turned the firm on to Snapchat) and Ravi Mhatre, whose deals include newly public Mulesoft, as well as Stitch Fix, which is mulling an IPO now.

With special thanks to Haystack founder and friend Semil Shah and TechCrunch’s emerging tech editor, Lora Kolodny, who will be helping with interviews.

Thanks, too, to our generous sponsors Square 1 Bank, Rosebud Communications, and Bullish for making the night possible.

We’ll be at capacity before too long, thanks to attendees who are coming from Mayfield, IVP, WiLab, Costanoa Ventures, Scale VP, Iconiq, Northgate, Javelin Venture Partners, F Prime Capital, Creadum, and Naspers, among other outfits, so nab a ticket while you still can.

Essential Reads

Orion Hindawi and his dad built the world’s most valuable cybersecurity startup with Andreessen Horowitz-backed Tanium. Now they’re grappling with employee unrest and an executive exodus. (We’re now wondering if AH might have seen this story coming a year ago, when prized communications executive Scott Rubin, who’d spent eight years at Google before joining the powerful venture firm, left it to become Tanium’s chief communications officer.)

Detours

How far are we from breaking the two-hour marathon barrier?

The official trailer for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”  Arriving in your galaxy December 15.

Family Tree.

Retail Therapy

A kayak that can be folded into a backpackC’est un miracle.


StrictlyVC: April 13, 2017

Thursday! Hope yours is going well.:)

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a data-centric PR firm out of Austin that has been a vital component in helping five startups to achieve an exit in the firm’s first 45 months. In addition to successfully executing funding and news announcements and content programs for VC firms and venture backed startups, Treble specializes in accelerating traction for CEOs and VCs by reverse engineering individual thought leaders into breaking news. The founder of Treble penned a piece on how startups can capitalize on PR to accelerate the path to exit. Check it out here.

Top News in the A.M.

Uber‘s head of communications, Rachel Whetstone, is leaving the company after two years, Recode reported on Tuesday. Now we know why, seemingly: a new report from The Information highlights what amounts to industrial espionage by Uber. (There are only so many PR crises one can take, even a longtime veteran of Google like Whetstone.)

Hold on to your hats: Tesla is planning to introduce a pick-up truck in the next couple of years.

Pandora May Become the Latest Tech Firm to Turn to Private Equity

You might have noticed: private equity firms love them some technology companies. According to new Pitchbook data, one-fifth of all U.S. private equity deals in the first quarter of this year centered on companies in the IT sector.

That’s up from the 10 to 15 percent range over the last 10 years, with the most popular targets being software companies; they’ve made up 54.2 percent of all PE investments in the broader tech space since 2006, and 63 percent of the transactions since early last year, says Pitchbook.

It’s easy to see their appeal to PE firms, including those companies controlled by other PE firms, those backed by VCs and those that have gone public already but have seen their share prices plateau (or worse). What they share in common: investors looking to get out so they can fund the next shiny thing.

More here.

New Fundings

Elmodis, a two-year-old, Poland-based company that monitors performance and improves the operating efficiency of industrial machines, has raised $4.9 million in Series A funding led by SET Ventures, with participation from Intel Capital and earlier investor Innovation Nest, a Polish firm that had provided the company with $250,000 in seed funding. More here.

Envisagenics, a nearly three-year-old, New York-based software-as-a-service tool for RNA-sequencing data analysis and interpretation in the cloud, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Breakout Labs. The New York Post recently profiled its founder, Maria Luisa Pineda. More here and here.

Fishbrain, a seven-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based social network for anglers, has raised $3.7 million in new funding from FJ Labs, with participation from earlier backers, which include Northzone, Industrifonden, Active Venture Partner, Recruit Strategic Partners and more. The company has now raised $15 million to date. More here.

Gel4Med, a 1.5-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based bioengineering startup whose lead product is a “flowable tissue scaffolding matrix” that encourages organic tissue healing, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Breakout Labs. More here.

goTenna, a five-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup whose products enable users to communicate “off grid” with those nearby, has raised $7.5 million in Series B funding led by Union Square Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Walden Venture Capital, MentorTech Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, BBG Ventures, and Collaborative Fund. The company has now raised $16.8 million altogether. More here.

Ink Labs, an eight-month-old, Lincoln, Ne.-based advanced printing company that leverages the so-called Internet of Things, has raised $6.65 million in seed funding led by VTF Capital, Base Ventures, G-Bar Ventures, Nelnet, and IT-Farm, with participation from The Nebraska Department of Economic Development through Invest Nebraska. More here.

Katerra, a two-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based end-to-end design and construction platform that already has more than 550 employees, has raised $130 million in Series C funding led by Greenoaks Capital. Other participants in the round include Moore Capital Management, Khosla Ventures, DFJ, Foxconn and Paxion. The company’s executive chairman, Michael Marks, was previously the CEO of Flextronics. The company has now raised $220 million altogether. More here.

LogicInk, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based company behind a programmable temporary tattoo that changes shape and color to convey specific health information about its user, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Breakout Labs. More here.

Luminar, a five-year-old, Denver-based LiDAR sensor developer, has $36 million in (wow) seed funding from Canvas Ventures, GVA Capital and 1517 Fund. More here.

Lyndra, a 1.5-year-old, Watertown, Ma.-based developer of an extended therapeutic oral-relief system, has raised $23 million in Series A funding led by Polaris Partners, with participation from Quark Venture, GF Securities, Yonghua Capital, Healthlink Capital, Partners Healthcare and Suffolk Equity. More here.

Neyber, a three-year-old, London-based consumer finance platform that enables employers to offer access to affordable loans, then deduct their payments through staffers’ salaries, has raised £7.5 million ($9.4 million) in Series B funding, including from Police Mutual, former Deutsche Bank COO Henry Ritchotte and Credit Suisse Investment Bank co-head Gaël de Boissard. More here.

PagerDuty, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based digital operations management platform for businesses, has raised $43.8 million in Series C funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, Baseline Ventures and Harrison Metal. VentureBeat has more here.

Sansoro Health, a three-year-old, Minneapolis, Mn.-based company whose tech aims to make it easy to exchange real-time health care data between digital health applications and electronic medical records, has raised $5.2 million in Series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. More here.

SciBac, a 1.5-year-old, Milpitas, Ca.-based startup looking to combat antibiotic-resistant infections with smart colonies of healthy bacteria (it’s targeting C. diff, a potentially fatal gastrointestinal infection, among other things), has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Breakout Labs. More here.

Tasktop, a decade-old, Vancouver-based company that manages its customers’ software life-cycles and integrations, has raised $11.3 million in new funding led by AVX Partners, with participation from Austin Ventures and Yaletown Partners. More here.

New Funds

Eniac Ventures, an eight-year-old, New York-based seed-stage venture firm, has closed its newest fund with $100 million in commitments, capital it plans to invest in augmented reality, virtual reality, bots, robotics and other software-enabled technologies. The firm had closed its third and most recent fund with $55 million in early 2015. More here.

Riot Ventures, a new Boston-based firm led by serial entrepreneur and angel investor Stephen Marcus, is looking to raise $25 million for its debut fund, per an SEC filing flagged by Axios Pro Rata. The outlet says Marcus plans to fund opportunities relating to the Internet of Things. The filing is here.

IPOs

Yext shares jumped more than 25 percent this morning in their first day on the public market. CNBC has more here.

The Latin American e-commerce company Netshoes raised $148.5 million yesterday after pricing its shares at $16, the bottom of its range, and right now, they’re trading down 8 percent. The company, which filed to go public in the U.S. in mid March, had previously raised roughly $215 million from investors, including Iconiq Capital, Riverwood Capital, and Tiger Global Management.

Exits

Baidu has agreed to acquire xPerception, a tiny Silicon Valley computer vision startup, for an undisclosed amount, says Reuters.

Delivery.com, a 13-year-old, New York-based online ordering service, has acquired Klink, a five-year-old, Boca Raton, Fla.-based mobile app that allows users to order alcohol delivery. Terms weren’t disclosed. The Miami Herald has more here.

Insight Venture Partners acquired Zyme, a 13-year-old, Redwood Shores, Ca.-based company that provides cloud-based SaaS applications, for $100 million. Zyme raised just $12 million in funding from Artiman Ventures and Susquehanna Growth Equity. Silicon Valley Business Journal has more here.

SpotHero, a six-year-old, Chicago-based parking reservation service, has acquired six-year-old, rival parking service Parking Panda, based in Baltimore. Terms aren’t being disclosed. According to Crunchbase, Parking Panda had raised $4.7 million in funding, including from entrepreneur Fabrice Grinda.

Stripe, the six-year-old, San Francisco-based online payments company, has acquired Indie Hackers, a year-old, San Francisco site and community for entrepreneurs and developers. Terms weren’t disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

People

These are all the top Uber executives who’ve left since February.

Golden State Warriors small forward Andre Iguodala just spilled a few beans about Magic Leap, the still-stealth augmented reality startup.

Jobs

Kapor Capital is looking to bring aboard four summer associates. The jobs are in Oakland, Ca.

Essential Reads

Chinese investment in U.S. tech startups may have already peaked.

Google is pushing more aggressively into India with a new food delivery and home services app called Areo that competes with local outfits like (seemingly struggling) Zomato.

Apple reportedly has a secret team of biomedical engineers working on sensors that monitor blood sugar levels.

You can now input an intersection instead of a street address into the Uber app.

Detours

A look at the $1 billion Salesforce Tower in San Francisco — now the tallest office building on the West Coast.

How Mike Judge became America’s foremost chronicler of its own self-destructive tendencies.

Oh, no. No, no, no, no, noooooooo.

Retail Therapy

The best deal in art right now.


StrictlyVC: April 12, 2017

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a growing, data-centric PR firm out of Austin. Specializing in producing consistent and impactful media coverage for venture-backed startups and venture capital firms including Mercury Fund, Signal Peak Ventures and Next Coast Ventures, Treble has assembled an experienced team of PR veterans and ex-journalists with deep roots in Silicon Valley. The firm plans to formally launch its Bay Area office later this year. Check out coverage results by Treble here.

Top News in the A.M.

Qualtrics, a 15-year-old Provo, Utah-based company that sells corporate survey and analytics technology and seemed to hint earlier this week at an imminent IPO, announced today instead that it has raised $180 million in new funding at a $2.5 billion pre-money valuation from insiders Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Insight Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

A Quick Look at Who Was Spending, on What, in the First Quarter

This morning, the research firm CB Insights, in partnership with the services firm PwC, released a report on the state of VC in the first quarter of this year. It does a great job of breaking down what’s what, so we’re basically just cutting and pasting a handful of its biggest takeaways here and adding a little bit of context in case it’s helpful.

1.) U.S.-based venture backed companies raised $13.9 billion in the first quarter, across 1,104 deals. That’s up 15 percent and 2 percent from the first quarter of 2016 but way below the amount of activity we saw in 2015. (VCs invested more than $20 billion in the second quarter of 2015, for example.) This is a narrative we’ve been watching since early 2016, when an abrupt nosedive in the share price of LinkedIn (months before its acquisition) launched what would become a sustained freakout by both public and private investors.

2.) This one surprised us, but seed activity as a proportion of all deals is on the decline. Seed rounds made up one quarter of all deals in the first quarter; over the last few years, that figure has been north of 30 percent. We’re not immediately sure of how to explain this one, but it’s likely that angel investors are still waiting for some of their older deals to exit. (These things typically take far longer than newer angels in particular appreciate.) There could also be a growing disconnect between the prices founders are asking for and what angel investors are willing to pay. The most optimistic scenario is that angels have grown more discerning about what to fund. (Just kidding. That probably isn’t happening.)

3.) Corporates and corporate VCs are as active as ever, participating in 26 percent of all U.S. deals in the first quarter, which matches their rate of participation in the third quarter of last year, which itself was an eight-quarter high. This one won’t surprise industry observers. When even Sesame Street launches a venture fund, you know things have changed.

More here.

(Other) New Fundings

Banihal, a five-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based online matchmaking service, has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Google’s famously frugal first investor David Cheriton. (“It’s just easy to do myself, and it takes less time,” he has said of cutting his own hair.) A handful of other U.S.-based angel investors also participated in the round. The Economic Times has more here.

Blink Health, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based generic and prescription medication purchasing platform, has raised $90 million in Series B funding led by earlier investor 8VC that brings its total funding to $165 million. The company was fighting off a lawsuit as of late last year, filed against it by its former CFO. (Blink called the suit “malicious” and “unjustified.”) It suffered another setback when two big pharmacy chains pulled out of its network last month. More on its new round here.

Cleanly, an on-demand dry cleaning and laundry service, has (despite the odds) raised $5 million in Series A funding led by AddVenture, with participation from Millhouse Capital and return backers Altair Capital and Initialized Capital. More here.

Darkstore, a year-old, San Francisco-based provider of one-hour and same-day delivery fulfillment for ecommerce companies, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from Pivot North. More here.

First Circle, a 1.5-year-old, Singapore and Philippines-based fintech startup enabling SME lending in the Philippines, has raised $1.3 million from Accion Venture Lab and Deep Blue Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Full Harvest, a three-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based startup, has raised $2 million in seed funding to connect farmers with food makers who want to buy the fruit and veggies that grocers deem too ugly to sell in stores. Backers include Wireframe Ventures, BBG Ventures, Early Impact Ventures, Impact Engine, Radicle, Astia and Joanne Wilson. More here.

HackerEarth, a four-year-old, Bangalore, India-based startup behind a technical recruiting platform, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding led by DHI Group, with participation from Japanese quartet Beenext, Beenos, Digital Garage, BizReach. Earlier investor Prime Venture Partners also joined the round.

Little Spoon, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based organic baby food subscription startup (one in a recent spate to emerge), has raised more than $2 million in seed funding from angel investors, including Tinder CEO Sean Rad and Chobani EVP Kyle O’Brien. TechCrunch has more here.

Lybrate, a three-year-old, New Delhi, India-based health tech startup that connects patients with doctors in India to help raise awareness of basically medical practices, has raised $3 million in new funding, according to an SEC filing. The company is declining to comment on its backers. The company last raised $10.2 million in funding in 2015 led by Tiger Global Management. TechCrunch has more here.

NetEase Cloud Music, a four-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based online music platform (a la Spotify), has raised roughly $108 million in Series A funding at a $1.16 billion valuation led by Shanghai Media Group, with participation from Mango Cultural and Creative Industry and CICC Jiatai Fund. More here.

Orbital Systems, a five-year-old, Malmo, Sweden-based company whose re-purification technology aims to significantly reduce the amount of water and energy used when taking a shower, has raised £15 million ($18.7 million) in Series B funding.  Skype founder Niklas Zennström invested in a personal capacity in the company (not for the first time). Also participating are Karl-Johan Persson (CEO of H&M), the af Jochnick family (founding family of global makeup brand Oriflame), and several others. TechCrunch has more here.

Peloton Technology, a six-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based connected and automated vehicle tech company focused on improving efficiencies in the trucking industry, has raised $60 million in Series B funding. Omnitracs led the round, with participation from B37 Ventures, Mitsui USA, Schlumberger, US Venture, Breakthrough Fuel and earlier investors Intel Capital, DENSO International America, BP Ventures, Lockheed Martin, Nokia Growth Partners, UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, Volvo Group, Sand Hill Angels, Band of Angels and Birchmere Ventures. More here.

Plume, a nearly three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based maker of a Wi-Fi network extender that can be operated via smartphone app, has raised $27.5 million in a round that reportedly may close with $37.5 million. Comcast led the round, with participation from earlier investors Jackson Square Ventures, Spark Capital and Liberty Global Ventures. Axios has more here.

Qwilr, a three-year-old, Sydney, Australia-based startup that helps companies turn PDFs and other static sales documents into dynamic sites, has raised $1.5 million in funding from Germany’s Point Nine, a venture firm that specializes in Saas businesses. TechCrunch has more here.

Teamable, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup whose subscription software turns employees into recruiters, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by True Ventures, with participation from SaaStr Fund. We have more on the company here.

Zen Rooms, a two-year-old, Singapore-based budget hotel network targeted predominantly at Southeast Asia, has raised $4.1 million in Series A funding from Korea’s Redbadge Pacific and SBI Investment Korea, with participation from earlier backer Asia Pacific Internet Group. More here.

People

Serial entrepreneur Justin Kan is reportedly seeking $10 million in funding for his newest startup.

Bessemer Venture Partners has promoted Talia Goldberg to vice president. She joined the firm in 2012 after helping launch First Round’s student-run Dorm Room Fund.

This Amazon employee out-earned Jeff Bezos last year.

Jobs

Google is looking to hire a corporate development strategy associate. The job is in Mountain View, Ca.

Lighter Capital is looking to hire an analyst. The job is in Seattle.

Essential Reads

If you live in select San Francisco neighborhoods, don’t be surprised if your takeout arrives via one of these rolling robots.

Detours

Gender bias riddles.

The Alpine retreat where billionaires go to detox.

Charlie Murphy, the very funny older brother of Eddy Murphy, has passed away at age 57.

Retail Therapy

Your “millennial” “casualcore” SUV. It’s just a dream, says Toyota, but it might come true.


StrictlyVC: April 11, 2017

Happy Tuesday, dear readers and closet poets! (In case you missed yesterday’s newsletter, we’d asked founders for startup-related limericks in return for free tickets to our upcoming event, courtesy of our friends at Bullish.) We had a couple of intentionally (we think) bad entries, but there are writers among you. Among our favorite entries: “There once was a founder named Hank/VCs found his style too frank/He struck out in the Valley/But friends supported him gladly/And they laughed all the way to the bank.” And: “I wake in the middle of night/Check my email with no delight/Another no sales day/ Love working for no pay/Dream big and hope it turns out right.” (We know the feeling!)

Speaking of which: Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a growing, data-centric PR firm out of Austin. Specializing in producing consistent and impactful media coverage for venture-backed startups and venture capital firms including Mercury Fund, Signal Peak Ventures and Next Coast Ventures, Treble has assembled an experienced team of PR veterans and ex-journalists with deep roots in Silicon Valley. The firm plans to formally launch its Bay Area office later this year. Check out coverage results by Treble here.
No column today.

Top News in the A.M.

Google has fired back over claims that it pays women less than men.

Slack says it just passed 5 million daily users.

New Fundings

Agrisoma Biosciences, a 10-year-old, Gatineau, Quebec-based company that sells an agricultural feedstock for biofuels, has raised $15.4 million in Series B funding from Groupe Lune Rouge and earlier backers Cycle Capital Management and BDC Venture Capital. More here.

ALung Technologies, a 20-year-old, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based company that makes lung assist devices, has raised $36 million in Series C funding led by UPMC Enterprises, with participation from Abiomed, The Accelerator Fund, Allos Ventures, Birchmere Ventures, Blue Tree Ventures, and Riverfront Ventures. More here.

Beamery, a three-year-old, London-based recruiting software company, has raised $5 million in funding led by Index Ventures, with participation from Edenred Capital Partners, GP Ventures and LocalGlobe. More here.

FretLink, a 1.5-year-old, Paris-based SaaS platform that connects companies that need to send big piles of stuff with thousands of transportation companies, has raised $6.4 million in funding from Daphni, Elaia Partners and Breega Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Metamaterial Technologies, a six-year-old, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based company whose smart materials are capable of changing  the way light can be manipulated (the materials can absorb, block or enhance it), has raised $8.3 million Series A funding led by Radar Capital, with participation from Innovacorp and other investors. More here.

MetroResidences, a nearly three-year-old, Singapore-based Airbnb for business travelers, has raised $2.8 million in funding from Rakuten. TechCrunch has more here.

Popular Pays, a 3.5-year-old, Chicago-based platform that connects content creators with brands that want content to tell their stories, has raised an additional $3.1 million in Series A funding that pushes the round to $5.2 million. The financing was led by GoAhead VC, with participation from Pallasite Ventures and Hyde Park Angels. TechCrunch has more here.

Tegile Systems, a 6.5-year-old, Newark, Ca.-based company that makes flash-driven storage arrays for databases, virtualized server and virtual desktop environments, has raised $33 million in funding led by Western Digital Corp. Earlier backers also joined the round, including Meritech Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, and Cross Creek Capital. The company has now raised $178 million altogether. More here.

Saleswhale, a 1.5-year-old, Singapore-based AI startup focused on automating sales emails, has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Monk’s Hill Ventures, Gree VenturesWavemaker Partners, and numerous angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Simple Contacts, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based app that enables users to take a vision test and reorder their contact lenses without an office visit, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Goodwater Capital, with participation from Justin Kan, Notation Capital, Autonomous Ventures, and hedge fund manager Steven Cohen. Fortune has more here.

Spring Care, a year-old, New York-based Yale University spinout whose behavioral health screening tool aims to help physicians in prescribing the most appropriate drugs for patients with depression, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. The William K. Warren Foundation co-led the round with angel investor Kevin Ryan, founder of Gilt, Business Insider, Nomad Health and MongoDB. MedCity News has more here.

Synack, a 3.5-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based startup that combines software security tools with a network of white-hat hackers to help keep its customers secure, has raised $21.25 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Microsoft Ventures, with participation from Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Singtel Innov8. Previous investors GGV Capital, GV and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also participated. The company has now raised $55 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Virtualitics, a year-old, Pasadena, Ca.-based VR/AR data visualization and analytics platform developer, has raised $4.4 million in Series A funding led by the Venture Reality Fund, a firm that looks to have closed its debut fund with $50 million last year. VentureBeat has more here.

New Funds

Boeing has launched a venture capital arm and invested in two tech startups. Boeing’s new division, HorizonX, invested in Upskill, a Washington, D.C.-based software company that uses Google Glass-type eye wear to help assembly workers with complex tasks like creating wiring bundles for Boeing jetliners. It also invested in Zunum Aero, a Seattle-area company that’s working on electric-hybrid aircraft aimed at bringing down the cost of flying to regional airports. Reuters has more here.

SV Life Sciences, a 24-year-old, Boston-based venture capital and growth equity firm, has renamed itself SV Health Investors and closed its sixth fund with $400 million in capital commitments. The firm had closed its fifth fund with $523 million in 2010. More here.

Exits

Magic Leap, the well-funded augmented reality firm that has yet to release its headset to the public, just purchased a startup founded by former Apple employees. Business Insider has more here.

Harland Clarke, a payment and marketing services firm, will acquire the publicly traded online coupon site RetailMeNot in a deal worth $630 million in equity. More here.

Not an exit yet, but: Activist investor Jana Partners has taken a 9 percent stake in beleaguered Whole Foods and wants it to explore a possible sale, reports the WSJ. More here.

Data

Just 13.9 percent of U.S. consumers say they’d consider Uber the next time they needed transportation, according to BrandIndex, a market research firm. That’s down from Uber’s recent high of 18.3 percent in November. Uber competitor Lyft, meanwhile, has surged in the same survey. As of last week, 9.6 percent of U.S .consumers said they would consider Lyft the next time they needed transportation, up from 5.6 percent in September. More here.

The iPhone continues to be the most popular smartphone among teens, according to data gathered by Piper Jaffray in its most recent semiannual U.S. teen survey. It says 76 percent of teens surveyed own an iPhone, up from 69 percent last spring. More here.

Essential Reads

Will London fall?

Inside Blue Apron‘s meal kit machine (Bloomberg with a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at exactly how challenged this business is).

The technology bubble may have burst more than 15 years ago, but large law firms still taking equity stakes in startup companies that they help bring to market. (Cooley owned Snap shares worth $11.7 million when the company went public last month, says The Recorder.)

Why Alphabet wants its lawsuit with Uber to play out publicly.

Detours

The kind of “special contribution” that’s become a regular tactic to employ in high-stakes divorces.

A new book cites Harvard Business School as the primary cause for disdain of corporate America.

Why the Pentagon is a pentagon.

Retail Therapy

GoPro wants to buy your GoPro.


StrictlyVC: April 10, 2017

Happy Monday!

Before we jump into things: We’d mentioned to last week that the creative agency and investment firm Bullish had an interesting idea for readers who’d like to come to our fast-approaching event, May 4, in San Francisco, featuring the founders of The RealReal, Impossible Foods, Confide and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

We talked a little more with Bullish this morning and they’d like to help founders specifically. Toward that end, today, the firm will be sponsoring five readers who’ve raised seed funding (just) and still have enough of a sense of humor to write a limerick about life in the startup trenches.:)

The first five limericks that are *not terrible* get a seat. You can hit reply to this email to submit your entry.

Thanks, too, to our other partners in what’s sure to be a fun night: Square 1 Bank, Rosebud Communications, and NextWorld Capital.

Top News in the A.M.

Controversial FCC Chair Ajit Pai has finally done something that everyone can agree on: ensure that cell phones will continue to be prohibited during airline flights.

Stripe’s Patrick Collison Says No to an IPO Any Time Soon

You can imagine that Stripe CEO Patrick Collison is asked a lot about whether his San Francisco-based payments company plans to go public any time soon. Last year, the seven-year-old company raised $150 million in a deal co-led by General Catalyst Partners and CapitalG that valued the startup at $9.2 billion, almost double the valuation it was assigned in 2015.

Altogether, it has raised $440 million, shows Crunchbase.

Still, don’t expect an IPO any time soon, Collison stated very explicitly at the Launch conference in San Francisco on Friday. While industry observers like to note the sustained and seemingly unstoppable success of gun-slinging Amazon, which went public in 1997, just three years after its founding, Collison argued that it was harder for Amazon at the outset than many seem to recall.

“If you look at the Amazon daily history [as a public company], they had an incredibly turbulent time for their first couple of years,” he told interviewer and Launch founder Jason Calacanis. “Now in 2017 . . . it all looks great. But they had a tough time at the beginning and I think this is a broader structural challenge across the industry.”

Of course, the point — that it’s far harder to take risks as a public company — has been endlessly argued for and against in recent years, by both people who think staying private as long as possible makes sense as long as capital is available, and those who argue that going public provides companies with cash to do things like acquire other companies.

It’s an argument that Collison preemptively argued, in fact, saying Friday that, “Being a public company certainly doesn’t stop you from taking a really long-term time horizon, but it does make it more difficult.”

More here.

A Word from Our Sponsor . . .

Today’s StrictlyVC comes to you courtesy of Treble, a growing, data-centric PR firm out of Austin. Specializing in producing consistent and impactful media coverage for venture-backed startups and venture capital firms including Mercury Fund, Signal Peak Ventures and Next Coast Ventures, Treble has assembled an experienced team of PR veterans and ex-journalists with deep roots in Silicon Valley. The firm plans to formally launch its Bay Area office later this year. Check out coverage results by Treble here.

New Fundings

Branch, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup whose tools enable developers to provide links between websites and apps, has raised $60 million in Series C funding from Andy Rubin’s Playground Ventures, according to TechCrunch. The company had earlier raised $53 million in funding, including a $35 million round led by Founders Fund just over a year ago. Other investors include New Enterprise Associates, Pear Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Madrona Ventures, Zach Coelius and Ben Narasin. More here.

Five Jack, a 3.5-year-old, South Korea and Indonesia-based company that operates an e-commerce game platform called itemku for gamers in Indonesia, has raised $1.2 million in funding from 500 Startups and Korean venture capital firms. The company has now raised $1.7 million altogether. More here.

Flipkart, the 10-year-old, Bangalore, India-based e-commerce giant, has officially raised $1.4 billion in new funding at a post-money valuation of $11.6 billion. Investors include Tencent Holdings, eBay, Microsoft, and earlier backers Tiger Global, Naspers, Accel Partners and DST Global. The investment will also see Flipkart take control of eBay India, a second-tier e-commerce player in India that will remain an independent e-commerce site. TechCrunch has more here.

Fresh Relevance, a 3.5-year-old, Southampton, U.K.-based marketing technology platform for e-commerce businesses, has raised £2.15 million in funding from Foresight VCT PLC. More here.

Future Energy Solutions Lighting Group, an eight-year-old, Fort Lauderdale, Fl.-based company that sells energy-efficient lighting equipment systems using LED and induction technologies to commercial and industrial customers, has raised $75 million in debt from Orion Energy Partners. The company had earlier secured backing from Matterhorn Capital and Stonegate Bank.

Jetty, a year-old, New York-based insurtech startup that provides customers with insurance products and services to protect their apartments and belongings, has raised $4 million in seed funding, including from Ribbit Capital, Box Group, Social Capital, SV Angel, Red Swan, MetaProp NYC and Solon Mack Capital. More here.

Mylio, a five-year-old, Bellevue, Wa.-based personal mesh network startup, has raised $25 million in funding from China Everbright, which will serves as Mylio’s distribution partner for the Chinese market. GeekWire has more here.

Neural Analytics, a four-year-old, L.A.-based medical device company that’s developing and commercializing technology to measure, diagnose and track brain health, has raised $10 million in funding led by Reimagined Ventures and numerous other, unnamed investors. Mass Device has more here.

Ortho Kinematics‚ a nine-year-old, Austin, Tex.–based healthcare diagnostics company focused on spine imaging informatics, has raised $18.6 million in Series D funding from undisclosed backers. More here.

Proveca, a seven-year-old, Manchester, U.K.-based pharmaceutical company developing medicines for children (including a treatment for pathological drooling), has raised £4 million (roughly $5 million) in funding led by Catapult Ventures, with growth debt financing provided by Kreos Capital. More here.

Trov, a nearly five-year-old, Danville, Ca.-based fintech company aiming to bring on-demand services to property-casualty insurance, has raised $45 million in funding led by the German reinsurance giant Munich Re AG, with participation from Japanese insurer Sompo Holdings. The company has now raised $85 million altogether, including from Oak HC/FT, Anthemis Group and Pivot Investment Partners. The WSJ has more here.

New Funds

The Engine, a fund and accelerator for advanced technology startups, has closed its debut fund with $150 million, says its CEO and managing partner, Katie Rae. MIT is the anchor LP, having committed $25 million to the vehicle. Rae previously led funds at TechStars Boston and Project 11. TechCrunch has more here.

Freestyle Capital, a San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm, has closed its fourth fund with $90 million in commitments. It also promoted Jenny Lefcourt to general partner. Lefcourt, who’d earlier cofounded a wedding registry startup called WeddingChannel, joined Freestyle in 2014. The outfit closed its last fund with $60 million in 2015. TechCrunch has more here.

IPOs

Is Qualtrics — a 16-year-old, Provo, Ut.-based SaaS company that has raised $220 million from Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Insight Venture Partners — preparing to go public? This interview with CEO Ryan Smith suggests the answer is yes.

Exits

TaskRabbit is exploring a sale after the company received inbound interest from a strategic buyer, CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot confirmed to Recode over the weekend. More here.

Sphera Solutions, a Chicago-based risk management and compliance software company, has acquired Rivo Software, a 13-year-old, Warwick, U.K.-based maker of risk management and compliance software. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. It isn’t clear whether Rivo had venture backing. More here.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices is acquiring the IP and all of the employees of Nitero, an eight-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based startup that’s reportedly one of few companies capable of supplying 60 GHz mmWave radio technologies. Terms weren’t disclosed. Nitro had raised $4.7 million from Southern Cross Venture Partners and Trailblazer Capital, shows Crunchbase. Forbes has more here.

Remember when Chinese electronics giant LeEco said it was going to acquire U.S.-based TV maker Vizio? So that’s not happening. The Verge has more here.

People

Chris Bevington, a director of global partnerships at music streaming service Spotify, was killed in the Stockholm truck attack Friday, the company’s co-founder/CEO Daniel Ek confirmed on Facebook. He was 41. More here.

Last year, David Hung sold his drug company, Medivation, to Pfizer for $14.3 billion; now he’s joining Axovant Sciences, a risky drug developer focused on Alzheimer’s (and the brainchild of Vivek Ramaswamy, who we interviewed at our last StrictlyVC event and for TechCrunch). More on Hung’s move in Forbes.

Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt is leaving the company after an 18-year run, the company announced Friday. More here.

Data

According to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group, by 2030, up to a quarter of driving miles in the U.S. could be handled by self-driving electric vehicles. More here.

Essential Reads

Comcast is working on a Netflix rival.

Tesla just quietly debuted a solar option that could be a lot more practical for homeowners not looking to replace their entire roofs.

Detours

Where to invest $10,000 right now.

Why women don’t report sexual harassment.

A study confirms (again?) that the more you use Facebook, the worse you feel.

Retail Therapy

Blue checkered shirts are so 1998 (through 2016). Now, it’s all about that preppiest of colors: pink.